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In LightWave 10 Essential Training, author Dan Ablan provides thorough, step-by-step instructions on building 3D models, scenes, and animations in LightWave 10. Beginning with a tour of the interface and LightWave's two main programs, Modeler and Layout, the course covers key concepts such as building models from basic polygonal shapes, assigning textures, and employing lights and 3D cameras to build real world scenes. Also included are tutorials explaining particle animation, dynamics, and bones. Exercise files accompany the course.
Working with bones or skelegons in LightWave is relatively simple. You can even setup things like this, like an animated character. And even on a very simple character, you can have a lot of fun and bring this to life. Well, let me show you how simple this character really is. I can hit the Modeler button. And you'll see that it's just a matter of boxes that are shaped. I'll hit the Tab key and you can see that it's really nothing more than just a very simple object like that. And I built this a number of years ago and this is really just hoping I can recall up and use just for fun, but put into a scene for whatever I need. It starts that with a box in the center.
And really it's just pulled and deformed and beveled and nothing more than what we've done throughout the course, but when you hit the Tab key for subdivision surfaces, well, it turns into a much smoother object. So let's jump back into Layout. Now when we've set up bones in a very simple little bottle, well, we started with the base and then we moved up with a child bone. And then we went up to the neck, and then we made a tiny little bone if you remember for the neck. And then we made a larger bone for the cap. Well, this exact same principle is done right here and its child bones all the way up.
So if I take this middle bone and I select Rotate, well that rotates so the bones are active and it's rotating the body. If I move my up arrow and I go through the chest, I can move that. Go up a little bit more and move the neck and that move head around and of course, you can take the head and just twist that around. So really pretty easy to set up just to make a nice little character. To make the shoulders, all you really need to do is take this center bone and add another child bone. Rotate it off to the side then down the arm.
And so when you rotate these bones, you've got an arm that's rotating and by the same token, you can do the same for the bottom, for the leg. Now this center bone right here is very much like the top hierarchy where we've got a bone in the base that comes up through the chest through the neck. Another new bone is set up here with child bones that go right down the leg. And again this is something I'd said earlier, which is really just set up any kind bone structure like you would a human form. And of course that's why they're named bones.
So we've got a hipbone right here and we'll move that hip. You can make this guy have a little boogie. You can do the same for this one right here, and then obviously for the arms. So animating these characters is not really too much trouble once you get these bone structure in place and a very simple bone structure like this is not hard at all to set up. It just takes a little bit of time and I'm sure you can do it quite easily. From there, you would set up your keyframes to animate this. So you'd have a foot move and then you would move to another position and then you move to another position, and move to another position.
And that is the art of keyframing and character animation is getting that timing down. And that's something that will take years of practice. Some people can pick it up right away others it takes them a little while, but it's a lot of fun to practice and set up these characters. And the best way to really learn this is to mimic real world motions. Have a mirror by you, mimic your facial muscles, jump around in your room, watch your steps, videotape yourself, and see how fast you actually step across a room. Often you might think you can set up a little walk cycle in a matter of 30 seconds 30 frames, when in actuality it's a matter of four or five frames.
So pay attention to real world principles and you may be able to setup character animation quite easily. A bone structure in a character like this is very simple to set up, takes a little bit of time, but once you know the process, you can animate just about anything can think of.
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